Bigger screens create demands for bigger networks

New Cisco research links the prevalence of large screens in the home to growth in IP traffic Cisco has predicted that global IP traffic will increase fivefold by 2013 and says consumers’ acquisition of more and larger screens will be an important factor in the growth, as the prevalence of those screens will spur demand for high-definition video.

New Cisco research links the prevalence of large screens in the home to growth in IP traffic

Cisco has predicted that global IP traffic will increase fivefold by 2013 and says consumers’ acquisition of more and larger screens will be an important factor in the growth, as the prevalence of those screens will spur demand for high-definition video.

The predictions are contained in Cisco’s Visual Networking Index and assert that by 2013 global annual IP traffic will hit 667 exabytes. The Asia Pacific region will account for much of this traffic, with expected carriage of 21 exabytes per month. 90%of traffic in 2013 will be video, Cisco says, and much of that will be interpersonal communication as video becomes a more common peer-to-peer medium. The company sites Skype data stating that 28% of Skype calls are now video calls as one fact buttressing its claims.

Simultaneous consumption of multiple network resources is another trend the company says will drive increased traffic. Multitasking scenarios such as listening to an online music service while working or watching online video while also surfing the Net will become increasingly common, at home and in the workplace. Increasing numbers of devices will also consume more data thanks to what the company calls “passive networking” that sees them download data without users’ active involvement.

For business, the implications of this growth will be a need to manage increased use of video on the WAN, along with a general increase in traffic caused by more applications passively accessing networked resources.

Screen size is another driver, with the study suggesting that larger screens with higher resolutions spur users to make greater use of video communications. Mentioning a home with two TVs and two PCs, the Index suggests that over the next five years such a home could add “two additional large screens, an e-book reader, and a Wi-Fi digital photo frame” to create a total of 16 square feet of screen space. Today, typical homes have 7 square feet, and as by 2013 all the screens will be networked a commensurate increase in network traffic will follow.

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